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5-star C Will Baker names Texas as a finalist

The Longhorns are one of four teams still standing with five-star Austin Westlake center Will Baker.


Only four schools remain in the mix with elite Austin Westlake center Will Baker.

On Wednesday, the local five-star prospect announced his final four schools and the Texas Longhorns unsurprisingly survived the cut.

Baker named UCLA, Stanford, and Georgetown as his other finalists.

Arguably Shaka Smart’s top overall target this cycle, Baker’s first documented offer arrived from the Longhorns in January 2017, and throughout the past 20 months, he’s received multiple visits from Smart and his staff, in addition to an unofficial visit on Feb. 12.

Baker is now set to return to the Forty Acres on Friday to begin his Texas official visit.

“I really like Coach (Darrin) Horn and Coach Shaka (Smart),” Baker told 247Sports’ Brian Snow. “They are great guys and I have a great relationship with them. They tell me I can play inside-out, and that I could be a good fit there. Also, they have produced big guys who have gone in the first round the past two years, and I like that.”

Of his other three finalists, UCLA is largely considered to be Texas’ stiffest competition, if not the favorite. The Longhorns and Bruins have each received a trio of Crystal Ball projections. Baker is just weeks removed from an unofficial visit to UCLA on Aug. 9, which came shortly after his June 28 official tour.

Baker doesn’t yet have a decision date set.

Considering the current outlook, if the nation’s No. 7 overall center and No. 2 player in Texas were to pick the Longhorns, it would provide Smart with his first 2019 pledge. Since arriving in Austin, Smart has previously landed a pair of five-star center pledges with Mohamed Bamba being the most recent in 2017, and local Austin product Jarrett Allen siding with Texas in 2016.